Today my thoughts were definitely not focused. I had carefully chosen books for a biography book talk for third graders. When they arrived, I pushed the book truck to the story steps and smiled. Their teacher asked, "Are those biographies?" Yes, I replied. She hesitated. "Oh. Well, I asked for nonfiction books." Oh, I replied. Hmm. What had I been thinking?
Thinking fast, I gave her a picture book biography of Jesse Owens to share, and I quickly selected two books from each Dewey section. Instead of being distracted, the students were mesmerized by the books. Munro Leaf's 1946 book How to Behave and Why was snatched immediately following the impromptu booktalk. From the 400s, they love hearing about word origins in In a Word by Rosalie Baker; four students wanted it. Seymour Simon's Lungs grabbed their attention in the 600s. A book on Minnesota was the most popular selection from the 900s. Even more interesting to me than their interest in those books I selected were their inquiries about so many topics. They wanted books about the Golden Gate Bridge, Taiwan, foxes, koala bears, more etymology books, Roman gods and goddesses, and fireworks. From my completely absent selection of biographies came a fabulous afternoon of topic selection.